A routine fact-check has become an excursion into the federal contracting wilderness as I try to wrangle the exact number of governmentwide acquisition contracts, or GWACs, that agencies hold for information technology products and services.
The proliferation of multiple award contracts has been well documented and federal procurement officials have yet to come up with a definite count of how many exist among the various agencies. But GWACs are different because the contracting agency must first be approved to hold a GWAC by the Office of Management and Budget. That should make them easier to count, right?
So far, I’ve come across several different counts, including two from OMB’s Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP):
I found this chart in a Google search and it looks to be from OMB from an unknown time. It lists 13 GWACs, however, there are some attributed to the General Services Administration that are not on GSA’s own list. And I believe Commerce’s GWAC expired since this list was made.
Then there is the multi-agency contract opportunities list on the OFPP site that would add up to 9 (if you count the 4 on the GSA link). But some of the National Institutes of Health GWAC links don’t work. It looks like only two of the NIH GWACs are in existence now and a third is coming soon. But I believe the Department of Homeland Security was given permission to award a GWAC and that is nowhere to be seen on this list.
Calls to a federal market research firm, searches on Nexis and recent testimony from former OFPP officials also came up with different numbers — 6, 10 and 12. I’ll have to figure this out soon, so if you know where the master list is, please let me know.